- He still turns back and gazes at the boys playing cricket on a ground with grass so dead. So dead and unnurtured that it doesn’t compete with backyards so green back in down under. He still misses it. The game.
- Most mornings, he makes me smoothies with avocado. Sometimes he tries peanut butter with banana milkshake which tastes heaven and cooks me veggies and lean meat so I eat clean ever since the doctor told me I had POCs.
- One year ago, when I woke up to go to state uni, the place I loathed and got harassed, I woke up to heavy English brekkis. He woke up an hour ago everyday to cook for me so I stay full till I’m back home.
- Almost two years ago, I was at a backpackers’ hostel. I went to watch cricket with a few men from Pakistan whom my Indian friend met when she was at the same hostel. Sounds crazy? Not at all. I met maamu who was the nicest and I adore him for life.
- He was at the same hostel. This one morning I was just back from Kandy and talking with this guy from Pakistan. Let’s call him Bobby! I was praising Younis Khan because he deserves all the love. I was at the corner table.
- I was loud about YK. Bobby shows me this guy sitting at the couch watching highlights from an Indian match a few years ago. “He’s Indian…” Bobby tells me.
- I paid no attention. No one paid attention to cricket either. I was still loud about Younis. He, the guy on the couch increases the TV volume. Two minutes later, he walks back and joins the hostel staff.
- Later in that evening, maamu introduces me to Adnan. He studied here. Adnan was part of what we call the ‘beauty’ in South Asia. He was fair with a cute smile. I liked him, initially. I sit down and we talk. A few minutes later, maamu introduces me to him. He says I spoke like a Sri Lankan. “I AM Sri Lankan,” what an idiot! I think.
“What are you doing here?”
- Maamu tells me he’s Sri Lankan. I initially don’t believe it. He shows me a picture of his passport and I still don’t believe it. He spoke like an Indian. Behaved like one. He, he, so Indian.
- Later that night, we all walk to a small Pakistani restaurant 4 kilometers. I talk with Adnan and mammu along the way. Coming back, he and Adnan joke around and they were loud. Maamu tells me the idiot had two masters and a bachelors. He was on a break from Australia etc etc.
- A few days ago the idiot tells me he got a little sad when I talked with Adnan that day but not with him.
- Back to two years ago in the hostel, maamu tells me Adnan was married with a kid. All of a sudden, I stopped liking him. I liked him but as a friend. A fiend. Just that. I go back home.
- Two weeks later, I come back and wait at the lobby reading Panther by Chhimi Tenduf-La. The idiot sleeps on the couch watching cricket. Highlights. He turns back and asks me if I watched South Africa v New Zealand. “No,” I turned back to my book.
- I was starving. Anxiety kicked in and I didn’t, couldn’t move my feet to the shop next door. Later, Kamil, one from the hostel staff brings me a glass of fruit juice. The idiot was with him. I still don’t know if it was he who told me to bring me a glass of juice. Ha!
- Evening, he talks about tv shows for five minutes before I said I had to go. Later at the front desk, we talk about Pakistan. Cricket. From U15s to ShahidAfridi’s, I bring out everyone I knew. I could see that he was amazed.
- I slept upon his bunk. He slept on the down bed. The next morning, we check cricket scores. It was Sri Lanka v India – Kumar Sangakkara’s last Test series. I argue how good Bhuvi K was turning out to be with his bat, this was just after his knocks in England. I tell him that Stuart Binny was bad and Bhuvi K was better than him. With bat!
- He asks me if I saw this x meme. I say no. He says he could WhatsApp me. I give him my number. His number was Australian.
- There, the idiot and I started talking cricket. The next day I wore a blue jersey and went to cricket. Later that night he squeezes my neck, goofing around, steals my tea and tells me to come back cos it would be bored without me. And the day later, I left the hostel. I thought I’d never return. I couldn’t find him to say goodbye. I left him a message “where are you? I’m leaving want to say g’bye.”
- There was no reply and only 20 minutes left for the train. I climbed down the stairs with maamu and just before I take the tuk, the idiot comes. I shake his hands and leave.
- For two weeks on WhatsApp, we talked cricket. About Rahane and Sanga and every Tom, Dick and Harry we knew and didn’t. He told me I looked good with the blue jersey.
- Back home, there was something telling me to go back. To change my life. So I did. I looked for interns in a pharmacy in Colombo. The thing was there were pharmacies back home. But I wanted it to be Colombo for something I never knew. But now I know. I landed my pharmacy internship. Found a place to stay and ta-dah, I’m back in Colombo.
- I went to the hostel, to see maamu and the idiot. We talk a little and he brings me a cheesecake. Blueberry. It had less cheese but I loved it. I went back to my place.
- And then from that day, every week, apart for two weekends I went home, I came and stayed at the hostel every weekend. At first I came on Saturday and left back on Sunday. Later, I took leave and stayed for two days. Sometimes three.
- Our first ‘date’ was a blueberry cheesecake at Yumi. It had cheese. To the date, it still is Colombo’s best. Every weekend we tried new dishes and went to new places. Sat in coffee places where he made fun of my coffee moustaches.
- One day in September, we walked 13km. Tired, we sat in front of met department. He told me he’s going back soon. In two weeks. Or maybe he’ll go back in December. He wasn’t sure. I was sad. He’s going back. For good! I broke a little. It was when I knew I really liked him. A LOT!
- Everyday he’ll annoy me. A LOT! He tickles me so I fall down from the couch and he nudges my knee and all the kiddie things. I acted as if I hated them. But I didn’t.
- September passed. October came. He gave me a printed note. Something more than a note. A letter. It was so much friendship, love and care. He kissed my forehead. I was the happiest person.
- One day a few days before my birthday, He called me and told me to come to McDonalds in Battaramulla. I wore my blue denim dress with floral wedges. He brought me a cake. It had a picture of a cake cutting Pakistani team (oh yes my team introduced the cake-after-a-win system before everyone copied us but hey, the thing is we cut cakes even if we lose and we do it the cutest way and rest of y’all suck.) I cut Yasir Shah into half and we ate him (gross.) I kissed his cheeks.
- On my birthday we went to Galle. To watch cricket. We couldn’t and didn’t watch cricket. We sat on the ramparts and drank Thambili. Went to Crepe-ology. He read me Mr. Grumpy while we ate.
- Later that night, he got me pizza with margarita. We sat on the floor and talked about life until he leaned towards me and kissed me. And then we kissed. He told me he loved me.
- It took me a week to tell him that I loved him back. I belong to a somewhat traditional Sinhalese family. Buddhist. He was Tamil. Hindu. He was born and brought up abroad. I was scared to love him. Not because I cared about race or religion but because my parents did.
- But then I became the girl I always was. Brave. Mostly, stubborn. And that’s how we happened. It took sometime for my momma to like him but now she does.
- Oh and he never left Sri Lanka. He stayed here. Found a job. We stared a blog and started traveling to so many places. We don’t live at the hostel anymore. He stayed at the same hostel for eight long months.
- Sometimes he misses the Shawarama back in Saudi and downtowns in Chennai with masala chai and chaat. Somedays, it’s Australia, the backyards so green where he played cricket. Sometimes his dad tells him to go work in Dubai. He tells me he’ll wait for my bachelors to finish.
- We now have an imaginary cat called Guppy and an imaginary pup called Trent Boult. Guppy also happens to have many friends from Alfred to Margarita who are apparently real. Guppy isn’t.
- And it’s his birthday this 24th! I hope that one day Guppy becomes real and he, this idiot gets to make me breakfast with lotsa bacon every morning and I can write about them every night. I hope we chase many waterfalls and every time I struggle to move my tired knees to a mountain top, he helps me climb up. A step by step.A little by little. (Also read: One year and a little more).
The things is that, if you really love someone, you will always make a way to come back to that person. You will always try to stay together. It won’t just happen. In love, you have to work for things. And that’s how relationships happen and prosper with time. I’ve realized that love sometimes isn’t enough. And most of the times, you wouldn’t end up with the boy in the last row (or first row) in your class with eyes so lusty and everytime you look at them, they suck into your veins and deep into your ribcage. Love happens. You can’t make it happen. But if two people love each other, they can always work for a relationship. Love and a healthy relationship are two very very different things. And it’s okay to trust your heart as long as you carry your brain alongside with you. And sugar plums, Alfred, Guppy’s friend roams around everyday outside our hostel. If you happen to meet him, give him some milk.